How To Validate Your Startup Ideas
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How To Validate Your Startup Ideas


– People get excited
about an idea and then build the product,
and then find out, six months later, that
nobody else was excited. (exciting fast music) How to go from zero to
selling your first product. This video is the
most important video that you’re gonna wanna watch. If you’ve ever thought of
starting a software company, maybe you have one, maybe
you’ve gone to the market, your customers aren’t buying. Maybe you’re struggling at
finding your best idea to pursue, maybe you have built
something way too complicated. I’m gonna share with you,
in this video, the simple framework on how I built
companies over the years. You know, I’ve done
1,300 Clarity calls, talking one on one
with entrepreneurs about their top challenges. Here’s the deal, 1/3 of those
calls were entrepreneurs that did this
framework backwards. They built the product,
six months, 10’s of thousands dollars invested, they put
it in front of a customer, and their customer
said that’s cool, but it doesn’t meet my
needs, or that’s really neat, but I don’t know if I
understand how to use it, it’s too complicated. They built something for
somebody that didn’t exist. They thought that there
was a pain in the market, that was just a vitamin, and that’s what I wanna share
with you guys in this video. Number one is how do you
come up with the best idea? Because you might have no
idea, which is totally cool, a lot of entrepreneurs
run into that, or you have a
number of ideas and you can’t figure out
the right one to do. Well, here’s a quick
three P framework for thinking this through. Number one is you need to know
that you have the problem. I would never start a
company if I didn’t have the problem myself, because
at the end of the day, you need to understand the
mindset of the customer, and where they’re struggling
with, and here’s the reality, if it doesn’t work out, at least you’ll be a
customer for the product. So, number one,
you have the problem. Two is the pain, make
sure it’s not a vitamin, make sure it’s a pain killer,
make sure it’s a must have, not a nice to have. So that’s the distinction of a great idea. Is it something people
really, really, really want, and are gonna beat down
a path to your door, or is it just kind of
something, maybe they would like it to
make their life better, which are usually,
typically hard to monetize and make money from. The third area is passion,
at the end of the day, if you’re not passionate
about your idea, then you gotta make sure
you find one that you are, because the problem is
what’s gonna get you excited, not the solution. Finding a customer that
you would love to serve, and being passionate
about that, that’s key. So that’s the first
part of the strategy, is make sure that you
focus on the right idea. Number two is get feedback
from the right customers. So, when you have an idea,
most of you get excited, you talk to your friends,
they all go, “That would be
awesome, yes totally, “you should pursue that.” What I do, that’s totally
different, is I find customers that use
my competitors product. So, if you wanna build
innovation, that’s cool, but you’re probably in a market,
and you can find customers that currently pay for that
solution, and ask them about your specific approach
to solving that problem. Because those people
actually have put their money where their mouth is. Whereas
if you just go to a general market, and you ask people
for their advice on your idea, they’re gonna be kind. I’m from Canada,
Canadians are super polite, they will never tell you
that your idea’s a bad idea. Do you realize that? Do you know how much risk
you incur by asking people, “Hey, what do you
think of my idea?” No, you wanna talk to customers
that have the problem, and get their advice. That is the second one, getting feedback
from paying customers. Third, is prototyping and not building a product. The problem I have with
the word MVP, or minimum viable product, is it’s got
the word product in there. What I would suggest is
build a clickable prototype, something that you can sit
down and design three core features of the idea,
not the future vision. Look, in five years, the truth
is, the world’s gonna change, innovation’s gonna take
hold, you don’t know what that’s gonna look like. Just sit down and say,
“Okay, what could we build “in a six week product sprint? “What are the three
core features that’ll “deliver value for our customers?” And you sit down and
you build a prototype, you can use tools
like Balsamiq, or UXPin, or even InVision, but you wanna
build a clickable prototype. I’ve seen people use
Keynote and Powerpoint, so super simple,
build the prototype. Then, here’s the key, you
wanna run a pilot program. You go back to those customers
that you’ve talked to, you go back to people that
you think are interested, and you get them to
pre-buy the product. People ask,
“Well, what should I charge?” My suggestion is 50%
off of the first year cost, that you’re eventually,
when you launch it. And here’s the deal, if you
put that clickable prototype in front of the customer,
you’ve never nailed their pain point in the market,
you’re excited and passionate about the problem,
and it’s something that you wanna solve yourself,
they’re gonna resonate with that, and they can join
that pilot program. You only have a
limited amount of seats, because really, all you’re
looking for is feedback as you co create it with them. You do that two cycles,
and eventually, you want your product public. That is the framework
from going to zero to selling your first
product, hope that served you. Really excited to
share that with you, because it’s one
of the top questions, the top frustration,
the problem that I have to address every time
I talk to a new entrepreneur, that’s already out there doing it. So excited for you,
excited for your future, excited for you to sell the
first version of your product. Pilots all the way,
as per usual, I wanna challenge you
to live a bigger life, and a bigger business, and
I’ll see you next Monday. If you like this video, be
sure to subscribe to my channel to get other videos on how to
start and grow your business. I’d also like to invite
you to join my newsletter, where I run community contests, I give you exclusive
invites to events, as well as other
free training videos. And if you’re ready
to get going, I’ve got queued up two
other videos to help you along your journey. I’m excited to have you here, and I’ll see you next week.

About Ralph Robinson

Read All Posts By Ralph Robinson

30 thoughts on “How To Validate Your Startup Ideas

  1. Don’t build your startup backwards! Most entrepreneurs are doing it wrong because they misunderstand the term MVP!

  2. Thanks Dan. Do you have any advice on how to get customers into a pilot programme? Things like practical tips on finding and vetting potential customers, cold calling, emailing etc. How do you break through the 'sales' wall, speak to the right people and be seen as part of the team solving a problem they desperately need to solve.

  3. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the video! My question is: How do you actually obtain feedback from your target customer? Where would you find these customers and how do you approach them to obtain feedback for your product without sounding "sales-y"?

    Thanks for the valuable information!

    Wafa

  4. I like and understand the validation process, but what if your core benefits to the user are design/performance driven? Should they still want to pre-buy? Also, what if the 50% isn't enough to fund the prototype fully? How long should you have them wait? What if finding co-founders takes longer than 3-6 months?

  5. I'm wondering how you solve the hard problems. The physical problems. The ones that take ten years of research, ten years to implement, then twenty years of political combat to keep those who hate and fear change from destroying your work.

  6. Hey Dan Martell
    i was Really Looking for Something Like This
    i have watch this video 10 to 15 times and every time a see i get New perspective of Business what i was looking for.
    Thank you so Much

  7. Great advice, thanks, Dan!

    I've personally used http://www.ideacheck.io to validate my startup idea and get an initial sense of whether my ideas might actually be valuable. They take care of generating a questionnaire from the idea and put it to a panel of users from your target group. So far, the response to my ideas was mostly negative, but I've gained valuable feedback through this process.

  8. Hi Dan, thank you so much for sharing. Great advices. How do you test the market and still protect your idea from competitors?

  9. you need to come down to states… my friends family even stranger stell me often mt ideas are complete shit… lol… some take enjoyment out of it… 😛 good advice… i build Bluetooth systems for backpacks.. snowboaders are my folks. i know we want it loud. 😀 so i make loud bluetooths lol last one i made 150 watts.

  10. How much does it cost to get a prototype made? For instance, something the size of an iPhone 7 with some software and hardware?

  11. Great tips Dan, always very useful and to the point. I love your channel. On my view, I still believe that there are ideas that not necessarily address a pain-point or a problem, but until the new service/solution is delivered you basically create a new necessity.. those are harder to succeed (cant really benchmark or compare with existing solutions), but represent the greatest success (Facebook, Google, Uber, Airbnb, to name a few)

  12. Hey so im at the point where i have an idea that many people iv spoken to are excited about. so i built the prototype and so far so good, i made the full vision of my idea into the prototype and people love it, now im stuck though. i got advice to find a technical partner and get them to develop the app MVP first. But idk about that

    what should i do next..

  13. Hi Dan,

    Good stuff and i like your post.On testing idea .I posted in one of my facebook groups about an escrow payment solution  after
    seeing how much people in my area are conned online by sellers who are not delivering the goods/services customers purchased.Problem is that the buyers are loosing much on their hard earned cash which they send out before getting the items they have purchased.

    This is the story:-
    Buyerspost products or services they are selling online together with the amount.After this ,customers send money but some of those sellers are cons and they end up disappearing with the customers cash which is making many customers fear purchasing online hence derailing eCommerce uptake here.

    I have a facebook where members post those stories of sellers who have conned.The essence of the members posting is to alert other members in the group who might be unaware of some of those con sellers they are transacting online with.Having seen this problem ,i decided to test the idea by posting it to the online community so that i can have a feedback of them once again

    I posted that service to my target customers and a good number of them are responded that they are interested and they also gave suggestions on how they would want to see the solution work.However,its like i still feel their is need to do more engagement with the users.
    From your advice,should i continue doing more engagement before even starting the service development until i get a meaningful feedback of the service ?

  14. Hey Dan great video it was just what I was looking for but I am still little confused. I want to start a company of shoes but I cannot diffrenciate is it must have or nice to have .

  15. Hi Dan! Very insightful. My question is based on a prototype, how should I go about collecting their payment info without getting into any legal trouble or chargeback disputes if the user felt like they paid for something that is still far from being ready? Or is it better to accept payment but never charge them for anything just for the purposes of showing an investor we have validated our concept? what works best?

  16. When doing customer interviews to validate start up ideas, how necessary is it to get a visceral positive reaction? — We’re finding that most people feel okay with whatever tools/workflow they have even though their current process is clearly suboptimal. How do you distinguish between customers-don’t-know-they-need-something-until-they-use-it and an actual bad idea?

  17. Great content, Dan. Thanks for doing it and keep on doing it. You do very good thing publishing those vids.
    I have a question for you: What if I come up with an idea that has already been implemented by someone else? In the case when I decide to build a similar product (maybe slightly different) do I really need to validate what was already validated? Do I really need to go through all those steps (Protoyping->Pre-selling->Building) or I can just skip the first two steps and start building?

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